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Acrylics and rubbing alcohol papers

I liked a lot of the techniques that Carmen Torbus and other mixed media artists shared in The Artist Unique, but one that caught my eye most strongly was Carmen's use of rubbing alcohol to partially lift acrylic paints, even after they had dried.  My steps that I outline below are somewhat different from what she outlines in the book, and I would definitely recommend that you examine her methods as well.  Plus, there are a whole lot more wonderful techniques shared by many different artists for you to try. 

Materials and Tools

Watercolor paper
Acrylics of choice (I used heavy bodied Golden's paints)
Rubbing alcohol
Bubble wrap, sponges, other texture tools
Cotton balls

1. Apply a thick line of a light color (I used hamsa yellow opaque) to the top of the sheet of watercolor paper, and use a sponge or your hands to smear it unevenly down the entire surface.

2. Use bubble wrap or another texture tool to rough up the surface.  Let it dry most of the way.

3. Apply spots of medium value colors (I used light green, cobalt teal, and quinacridone gold).

4. Use rubbing alcohol on cotton balls to partially lift the color.  This can be done either before or after they dry.

5. Apply spots of darker value colors over the original spots (I used chromium oxide green, phthalo turquoise, and quinacridone crimson).  Smear a thin watered down glaze of the crimson over the entire surface. 

6. Alternate using rubbing alcohol with adding additional paint until you are satisfied with the colors and the paper looks unified.  

[Note - 4 years later, this is what I used half this sheet of paper for...]

Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Robbie said…
Great...another technique for me to try!!! I'm packing up to head back to could keep me busy every day of the week! p.s. I love seeing your "artsy links" weekly!! So much talent and more inspiration!!! Thanks so much Cyndi!
Cyndi L said…
Robbie, have a wonderful and safe trip back to Michigan! Springtime in the north...can't be beat!
Lynda said…
What an interesting technique! Thanks.
Very cool technique. TFS. Without the blue, this would look like autumn leaves.